THE LYTICS at Nocturne (550 Queen West), Saturday (June 15), 9 pm. NXNE wristband or $12. nxne.com.
Judging by this year's NXNE roster featuring MCs from Vancouver to Halifax, Toronto isn't Canada's only hip-hop incubator. Still, it's pleasantly surprising to see a group representing that frosty capital city to the west, Winnipeg.
"There are a lot of cool dudes here rapping and constantly putting out material," says the Lytics' youngest member, Anthony Sannie. "We don't live in a big city, so there aren't a lot of shows all the time. But everybody is friends, so it's kinda tight."
Sannie, along with his brothers Andrew and Alex, cousin Mungala Londe and de facto family member Lonnie Ce collab on the group's sound, which at times has a throwback Tribe-ian quality and at others pop-rock influences. Andrew, Anthony and Mungala are responsible for the rhymes, Alex makes the beats, and Lonnie DJs.
They're a close crew, and years of performing have made them pros at winning over non-local crowds.
"Our shows in Toronto go well in terms of crowd response," says Sannie. "We definitely remember the screw-faces the first couple of times. That's just how it goes, though. A new band is going to get checked no matter where you are."
The Lytics' Saturday-night show might even have a guest appearance - that is, if Sannie has insider info that we don't:
"Word on the street is that the Tupac hologram will be out during our set, so that'll be cool!"
If you like the Lytics, also check out MaG at Crawford, Friday (June 14), midnight; or Def3 at Nocturne, tonight (Thursday, June 13), 1 am, both NXNE wristband or $12.